Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

English and American Literature - BA (Hons)

UCAS code Q300

2018

English and American Literature at Kent covers all periods of literature from Chaucer to the Contemporary. It teaches you to make connections across cultures, genres and historical moments and, in the process, ask searching contemporary questions.

2018

Overview

Kent’s School of English is an energetic and enterprising department. Several of our staff are published authors and poets and there are also numerous internationally recognised scholars. We try to ensure that you are taught by different lecturers with varying approaches, so that, throughout your degree, you encounter fresh ideas and new authors.

Seminars form a crucial part of your learning experience and you are able to express your own ideas and opinions. We keep our class sizes small to ensure you receive as much individual attention as possible.

Our degree programme

This programme opens students to the possibilities of transatlantic exchange (with literature from the United States and Canada) and, through a range of specialist modules, the study of global literatures in English including the literature of Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, India and the Caribbean.

In your first year, you are introduced to the major forms of literature: poetry, narrative prose and drama. You study how writers of different backgrounds and time periods have confronted the subject of identity and the kinds of identities literature depicts. You also gain an understanding of critical theory and the way we read and think about literature in the 21st century.

You study broad periods and genres of English and American literature and explore a variety of critical approaches in your second and final years. You take two modules in pre-1800 literature and then choose from a broad range of additional modules covering modern American literature, modernism, Shakespeare and Victorian literature.

In your final year, you move into specialised areas of study. Our specialist modules explore specific authors, genres or topics and have previously included contemporary British and Irish poetry, Thomas Hardy, the graphic novel, Native American Literature, the Brontës and postcolonial writing. You can also opt to complete a supervised dissertation.

Placement year

It is possible to spend a year on placement gaining valuable workplace experience and increasing your professional contacts. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply.

Year abroad

You can study abroad at one of our partner universities between the second and final year. Previous destinations include the US, Canada, Europe and Hong Kong. For details, see English and American Literature with an Approved Year Abroad.

Extra activities

There are a variety of literary activities at Kent. Students in the School of English publish a magazine of their creative writing, poetry and prose. There are also a number of student-run societies with a literary theme. In previous years these have included the:

  • Creative Writing Society
  • T24 Drama Society
  • Poetry Society
  • Literature Society.

The student newspaper, InQuire, is run by the student union and gives you the opportunity to develop your writing skills and to gain valuable work experience in journalism.

The School of English runs research seminars, workshops and social events, as well as a successful creative writing series of readings, where well-known writers and publishers share their experiences and skills. Previous guests include:

  • Iain Sinclair
  • Patience Agbabi
  • Terry Eagleton.

All our students receive free membership to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in central London, giving you access to the ICA’s facilities and a small number of internships.

Independent rankings

English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, over 92% of final-year students in English were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

For graduate prospects, English was ranked 15th in The Complete University Guide 2018. Of English students who graduated from Kent in 2016, 98% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The course structure below gives a flavour of the modules available to you and provides details of the content of this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

For September 2018, the School of English Stage 1 curriculum has had an exciting and innovative redesign, based on student feedback and the passions and interests of our academic staff.  These new modules will better prepare you to approach the evolving scope of the subject and provide an excellent foundation for your studies.

In Stages 2 and 3 you choose four optional modules per year, some of which are listed below. At least two of the modules you take over Stage 2 and 3 must be in pre-1800 literature. You also have the option in Stage 3 to take a long essay module, which allows you to research and write in an area of particular interest or to complete a dissertation within one of your final-year modules.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules:

Literary Forms - an introduction to the major forms of literature: poetry; narrative prose; and drama.

Mapping Identities - explore the ways writers of different backgrounds and time periods have confronted identity.

Thinking Through Theory - an introduction to some key theoretical readings in four broad areas: postcolonialism and race theory; theories of gender and sexuality; psychoanalytic theory; and Marxist theory.

Wild module:

Reading & Writing the Everyday - examine how everyday objects and phenomena – from the city to the home – communicate meaning to us and are open to different interpretations.

Further details on our new Stage 1 modules can be found here.

Stage 2

Modules may include:

EN672 - Reading Victorian Literature

EN675 - Declaring Independence: 19th Century US Literature

EN677 - The Contemporary

EN681 - Novelty, Enlightenment and Emancipation: 18th Century Literature

EN689 - Modernism

EN692 - Early Modern Literature 1500-1700

EN694 - Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama

EN695 - Empire, New Nations and Migration

EN697 - Chaucer and Late Medieval English Literature

EN721 - American Modernities: US Literature in the 20th Century


Year in industry

All our undergraduate degrees are also available with a year in industry. For more information about this option please see Placement Year.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

All students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a Term or Year Abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements in Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the Term or Year Abroad. 

The Term or Year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.

Stage 3

Modules may include:

EN722 - Global Capitalism and the Novel

EN723 - The Gothic: Origins and Exhumations, 1800 to the Present

EN724 - Holy Lives, Horrid Deaths: Medieval Saints and their Cults

EN701 - The Global Eighteenth Century

EN708 - Virginia Woolf

EN709 - Animals, Humans, Writing

EN713 - The New Women: 1880-1920

EN714 - Utopia: Philosophy and Literature

EN717 - The Graphic Novel

EN676 - Cross-Cultural Coming-of-Age Narratives

EN580 - Charles Dickens and Victorian England

EN583 - Postcolonial Writing

EN588 - Innovation and Experiment in New York, 1945-2015

EN604 - The Unknown: Reading and Writing

EN633 - Bodies of Evidence: Reading The Body In Eighteenth Century Literature

EN655 - Places and Journeys

EN657 - The Brontes in Context

EN658 - American Crime Fiction

EN659 - Contemporary Irish Writing

EN661 - The Stranger

EN667 - Harlem to Hogan's Alley: Black Writing in North America

EN668 - Discovery Space: Theatres in Early Modern England

EN669 - Marriage, Desire and Divorce in Early Modern Literature


Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment can vary between modules. All modules are taught by weekly seminars. In addition to seminars, the majority of literature modules also include a weekly lecture.

Assessment at Stage 1 and 2 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.

Assessment at Stage 3 is by coursework only and may include an optional Long Essay, or students may opt to have one of their literature modules assessed by dissertation.

Attendance at seminars is required, and for all modules, you are assessed on your seminar contribution/performance.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • introduce you to a wide range of literatures, particularly British and American, from Chaucer to the present day, and encourage you to identify and develop your own interests and expertise in fields of literary study
  • enable you to develop an historical and cross-cultural awareness of literary traditions and the ways in which they interact
  • develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language
  • offer opportunities for you to develop your potential for creative writing
  • offer generous scope for the study of literature within an interdisciplinary context
  • enable you to follow a particular pathway within the context of English and American literary study
  • develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form
  • develop your ability to assimilate and organise a mass of diverse information
  • offer you the experience of a variety of teaching styles and approaches to the study of literature
  • develop your capacity for independent critical thinking and judgement
  • provide a basis for the study of English or related disciplines at a higher level
  • provide a basis in knowledge and skills for those intending to teach English literature, including a broad frame of cultural reference
  • provide you with the opportunity to develop more general skills and competences so that you can respond positively to the challenges of the workplace or of postgraduate education.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • a wide range of authors, texts and cultures from 1350 to the present day in both British and American Literature
  • the principal literary genres, fiction, poetry, drama and of other kinds of writing and communication
  • the cultural, national and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read, particularly inflected by traditions of study in English, American and Postcolonial Literature
  • awareness of the range and variety of approaches to literary study, include creative practice
  • traditions in literary criticism
  • the mechanisms of circulation and reception of literary texts
  • critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
  • the ways the study of literature relates to other disciplines
  • the ways literary work relates to other aesthetic forms
  • the history and conventions of the principal literary genres.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • listening to and absorbing the oral transmission of complicated data
  • careful reading of literary works and theoretical material
  • reflecting clearly and critically on oral and written sources, using power of analysis and imagination
  • marshalling a complex body of information
  • remembering relevant material and bringing it to mind when needed
  • constructing cogent arguments
  • formulating independent ideas and defending them in a plausible manner
  • presenting arguments in written form in a time-limited context (examinations).

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary texts
  • informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature
  • ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to English studies
  • sensitivity to generic conventions in the study of literature
  • sensitivity to the problems of translation and cultural difference 
  • ability to articulate the relation between literary work and other aesthetic forms 
  • well-developed language use and awareness, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
  • articulate responsiveness to literary language
  • appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, in particular in bibliographic and annotational practices
  • understanding of how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
  • appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.

Transferable skills

You develop the following transferable skills:

  • developed powers of communication and the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
  • enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas designed to stimulate critical debate
  • developed critical acumen
  • the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds
  • competence in the planning and execution of essays and project-work
  • enhanced skills in critical analysis
  • enhanced capacity for independent thought, intellectual focus, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
  • enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual work, including more finely tuned listening skills
  • the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives
  • research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
  • IT skills: word-processing, email communication, the ability to access electronic data.

Careers

Our graduates have gone on to work in areas including:

  • journalism
  • broadcasting
  • publishing and writing
  • teaching
  • banking
  • marketing
  • project management.

Our graduates include:

  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • David Mitchell
  • Sarah Waters.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which offers advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

Alongside specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:

  • think critically 
  • communicate your ideas and opinions 
  • work independently and as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, English was ranked 14th in The Times Good University Guide 2017.

According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £18,000.

My job is as much about people as it is about numbers... my course taught me how to engage with other people and communicate well.

Mark McBride English and American Literature BA

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including English Literature or English Language and Literature grade B

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 17 points at HL, including HL English A1/A2/B at 5/6/6 OR English Literature A/English Language and Literature A (or Literature A/Language and Literature A of another country) at HL 5 or SL 6

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200
Part-time £4625 £7600

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

English and American Literature is so much more than just reading. You have the opportunity to learn about so many different subjects, from history and politics to sociology.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.